Scientists Are Teaching Drones to Search for Lost Hikers

Each year thousands of hikers end up lost in the woods. The search and rescue missions prompted by such occurrences require manpower and resources. Researchers at the Univ. of Zurich’s Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence are developing a drone capable of autonomously searching forest and mountain trails for the injured and lost. “While drones flying at high altitudes are already being used commercially, drones cannot yet fly in complex environments,” said Prof. Davide Scaramuzza. “In these environments, any little error may result in a crash, and robots need a powerful brain in order to make sense of the complex world around them.” In order to impart this navigational knowledge to drones, the research team spent hours hiking along different trails in the Swiss Alps, photographing over 20,000 images from…


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